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January 3, 2013

Contact: Marlene Feist
Public AIIairs OIIicer
(509) 625-6740

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CITY FORMALIZES COORDINATED APPROACH
TO ADDRESS ILLEGAL HOMELESS CAMPING
Citv departments, social service providers work on issue
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The City oI Spokane has Iormalized a coordinated approach to address illegal homeless camping
within the City. The approach is designed to provide individuals with opportunities Ior social
service assistance beIore proceeding with an enIorcement action.

'Our goal is always to provide services to those in need Iirst,¨ says Jonathan Mallahan, the
City`s Division Director Ior Community & Neighborhood Services which is leading the City`s
eIIorts. 'But we will enIorce City ordinances that prohibit camping on public or private property
without a permit, iI individuals are unwilling to accept help, in order to protect public health and
saIety Ior those within illegal camps and the community surrounding them.¨

The City is partnering with the Spokane Homeless Coalition`s Interagency Outreach Committee
to oIIer housing and social services to individuals who are camping. The City also will provide
a minimum oI 24 hours` notice beIore proceeding with any enIorcement action, which would
require the removal oI tents, tent structures, and solid waste. EnIorcement oI City ordinances
will be managed by the Spokane Police Department with the support oI Code EnIorcement.

The City and social service providers don`t see homeless encampments as a viable solution to
homelessness. The community`s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness calls Ior helping people
transition into permanent, sustainable housing options. The City and the community annually
invest millions into aIIordable housing and related services that help people make that transition.

The City adopted ordinances that require permits Ior camping on public or private land in
support oI that strategy.
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Permits require speciIic plans to address potential public health and public saIety problems,
including plans Ior handling solid waste and wastewater, providing Iresh water, managing
cooking Iires, and addressing security concerns.

The City`s transient shelter ordinance addresses camping on public property and allows Ior up
to two permits oI 14 days` length each. The ordinance is more stringent Ior camping in public
parks. Those permits are limited to two, three-day permits.

The separate homeless encampment ordinance deals with camping on private property; permits
Ior camping on private property are allowed Ior up to 90 days.

The camping issue has risen to the IoreIront in recent weeks, as individuals have chosen to set up
unpermitted camping sites under and near the I-90 viaduct in downtown. During that time, the
City has been working to connect individuals with services.

The coordinated approach will be used at all camping sites, not just those in the City core. The
Spokane Homeless Coalition Interagency Outreach Committee also is collecting inIormation
Irom individuals who have been camping to help the City better understand the needs and
barriers to housing and services oI those individuals. The inIormation will help the City develop
long-term strategies to assist those who are homeless.

The City will proceed with enIorcement actions, iI needed, on camps in the I-90 area over the
next week aIter the Outreach Committee completes its inIormation collection work.

'Work to end homelessness requires a long-term commitment, combined with short-term
responses to issues as they arise,¨ Mallahan says. 'The City is dedicated to working with the
community, including our homeless citizens, to Iind solutions.¨


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